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Dine Local: Analyzing the Practices of "Locavore" Chefs in Alberta Open Access


Other title
Alternative Food Networks
Social Practice Theory
Local Food
Cultural Social Theory
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Nelson, Paul A
Supervisor and department
Krogman, Naomi (Resource Economics and Environmental Sociology)
Beckie, Mary (Faculty of Extension)
Examining committee member and department
Krogman, Naomi (Resource Economics and Environmental Sociology)
Kachur, Jerrold (Educational Policy Studies)
Beckie, Mary (Faculty of Extension)
Davidson, Debra (Resource Economics and Environmental Sociology)
Department of Resource Economics and Environmental Sociology
Rural Sociology
Date accepted
Graduation date
Master of Science
Degree level
Social science researchers have largely overlooked chefs and the role they play in supporting small-scale farmers, even though chefs are often cited as instigating the local food movement. Chefs occupy a unique role in alternative food networks. Their culinary skills and food knowledge position chefs as ideal marketers and advocates for the quality ingredients being produced in their foodsheds, thus providing a nexus for studying the linkages between rural agricultural production practices and urban consumption practices. This study examined the daily practices of chefs in Alberta who procure and promote locally grown and raised food products within their restaurants or food-service establishments. Twenty-three chefs from the Calgary and Edmonton regions were interviewed using open-ended questions to elicit detailed information about the material conditions, the skills and knowledge, and the values and meanings that encompass the "culture" of being a "locavore" chef. This thesis documents the stories and insights of these chefs to highlight the daily practices that these chefs adopt and the challenges they face in sourcing ingredients through non-conventional means. Their daily routines reveal the integral importance of building social relationships with other people within alternative food networks, indicating that building a strong local foodshed requires finding synergy between social and economic goals. By fostering inter-personal relationships with farmers and customers, by sharing financial risks with farmers, and by supporting the scaling-up of their local foodsheds these chefs are helping to build more sustainable and resilient local food supply chains across Alberta.
Permission is hereby granted to the University of Alberta Libraries to reproduce single copies of this thesis and to lend or sell such copies for private, scholarly or scientific research purposes only. Where the thesis is converted to, or otherwise made available in digital form, the University of Alberta will advise potential users of the thesis of these terms. The author reserves all other publication and other rights in association with the copyright in the thesis and, except as herein before provided, neither the thesis nor any substantial portion thereof may be printed or otherwise reproduced in any material form whatsoever without the author's prior written permission.
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